LEWISTON — Playing in their second game in 24 hours, the L/A Fighting Spirit ground out a 3-2 victory over the New England Stars on Sunday afternoon at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

It was the first time this season the Fighting Spirit allowed more than one goal in a game, but Zach Barry was still solid in the cage, making 18 saves for his second victory of the season.

The Fighting Spirit are now 4-0 on the year.

“The key to this was going to be how were we going to survive our first back-to-back games,” Fighting Spirit coach Rod Simmons said. “It’s all about conditioning, mentally and physically, it’s a grind. There were times all weekend we weren’t pretty, but we got the job done.”

The Stars controlled play for most of the first period and kept the play in the Fighting Spirit zone. Barry made some key saves, including a clean shot from the point midway through the period.

“I would rather see a lot of shots than have a slow game,” Barry said. “I would rather stay in the game and keep warm.”

New England offensive pressure paid off. They created a turnover in the offensive zone as the Fighting Spirit tried to clear, and Brandon Hamner deked Barry to the ice and slid home the puck home on the backhand with 6:18 remaining in the period. The assists went to Steve Crocker and Brian Glover.

“It was a good game I thought,” New England Stars coach Darryl Green said. “I thought it was pretty well played the whole game and you know, we gave up three goals on the road, which usually will keep you in a game. We had a couple good chances and I thought (their) goalie made a couple of nice saves. It was a good game. I am not happy that we lost, but definitely happy with our work ethic, discipline and buying into our system.”

The goal woke up the Fighting Spirit, and they picked up play and started to get the puck into the offensive zone. They took advantage of their first power play of the contest when Crocker went off for hooking with 2:36 remaining.

L/A set up the power play and worked the puck to Brady McNulty, who fired the puck from the right circle that squeezed in between the post and New England Stars goalie Robbie Campbell.

New England started the second period like the first, controlling play in their offensive zone. The Stars killed their own momentum as they started a parade to the penalty box with Ian McNamara going off for interference 5:19 into the period. Three minutes later, Mitchell Fehd went off for cross checking. When Fehd stepped out of the box he went back in for tripping at the 10:32 mark of the period.

The Fighting Spirit got caught with too many men on the ice on Fehd’s second penalty and the teams played 4-on-4 for 43 seconds.

“I don’t think we had presence on the puck,” Simmons said of the power play in the second period. “I think they outnumbered us on the puck and that can’t happen. In power play situations we have to have more bodies than them on the puck to get control.”

Nick Hudson broke the 1-1 tie with 5:20 remaining in the the second period as he picked up the puck in the neutral zone. He used his speed to create separation from the defenseman and snapped the puck past Campbell in the slot for the unassisted tally.

“We are finding that Nick Hudson is, how can I say this? He’s very opportunistic,” Simmons said. “He gets an opportunity and (does) real well with it. It’s nice to see he has multiple opportunities and comes through.”

The goal was Hudson’s fourth, which leads the team.

The Stars fought back early in the third when Fehd tipped in Brian Glover’s point shot 2:28 into the period. John Krapian also recorded an assist on the goal.

“It was a great shift by that line,” Green said. “They did a good job working it up high to our (defenseman) and we had a forward right in front of the goalie — we had a high tip, that’s a good hockey goal.”

Just as the game neared the halfway point of the final period, Walker Hamilton went for a slap shot on the man advantage from the right point, but didn’t get great contact on the puck. He redeemed himself later on in the power play as he straddled the blue-line and unleashed a slapper past Campbell. The assist went to Simon-Richard Corriveau at the 9:41 mark.

“I was due, I had the one where I broke my stick on and I felt good about that one,” Hamilton said. “Later on I had a new stick and it felt a little stiffer and it took one or two (shots) to get used to and on the final play, the third shot I had, I converted on. That’s all I needed.”

Colby Siering had a chance to give the Fighting Spirit a 4-2 advantage as he was awarded a penalty shot late in the third. He tried to make a move on Campbell, but Campbell stayed with him to make the stop.

The Fighting Spirit were 2 of 6 on the man advantage while the Stars were scoreless on their five chances.

Campbell stopped 23 shots in the loss.


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